The Risqué German Cartoon Character Who Morphed Into The Iconic Barbie Doll

The Bild Lilli Doll was based on the German comic-strip character, Lilli, a seductive gold digger. The cartoon character was created by artist Reinhard Beuthien for the Hamburg-based tabloid, Bild-Zeitung. The slightly risqué doll was designed as an adult novelty that was often given out as a bachelor party gag gift and dangled from a car’s rearview mirror.

Ruth Handler, one of Mattel's founders, bought some of the Lilli dolls when she was on a trip to Europe. She reworked the design of the doll and renamed her Barbie, who debuted at the New York toy fair on March 9, 1959. The rest is history.

More: Messy Nessy Chic